CNN's GUT CHECK | for Thursday, April 19, 2012 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
PANETTA, PART TWO: “WE’RE WITHIN AN INCH OF WAR” – When Wolf Blitzer asks Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about North Korea on CNN’s “Situation Room,” Panetta says, "we're within an inch of war almost every day in that part of the world [North Korea], and we just have to be very careful about what we say and what we do."
What trained political pianist dreams of running the National Football League?
The fight for the common man is on. And there is something fun about watching two rich men aim to be the guy you’d rather have a beer with.
In case you missed what we call a “hot sot” – a TV term for provocative sound on tape, Mitt Romney on Wednesday took aim at the president where it hurts: his golf game.
"You do have the president’s golf. I must admit, I scratch my head at the capacity of the president to take four hours off on such a regular basis to go golfing. I remember how the Democrats used to be so critical of George W. Bush for playing occasional golf. He doesn’t begin to play the kind of golf that Barack Obama has, but we don’t hear much about that from the mainstream media,” Romney told talk radio station WLW.
We found it interesting that Romney took issue with golf, since his father was an active golfer. In fact, one article detailing Gov. George Romney’s tenure in Michigan started this way, “George Romney may have played more holes than any sitting governor in American history.” The reason behind the prolific stat was partially to do with speed, George Romney liked to play “compact” or “speed” golf - three balls on six holes.
To be fair to Mitt Romney, he did couch his jab at Obama by saying today’s economic climate required full-time work.
“I would think you could kind of suck it up for four years particularly when the American people are out of work, when so many people lost jobs under this president and under the prior president. Home values are down. Median income is down in this country," Mitt Romney said. "This is a time you’d think the president would recognize the crisis and focus his energy on getting people back to work."
(During George Romney’s term in Michigan, Michigan’s economy improved; median income was higher than the national average, and unemployment was below the national average, 5.6% when he took office in 1963 and 4% when he left office in 1969.)
Golf Digest Chairman and Editorial Director Jerry Tarde told Gut Check, “Loving and criticizing golf seems to be bipartisan, but my favorite comment comes from two Republicans. Eisenhower told George Shultz you may think you’re doing your job by working 14 hour days, seven days a week for the government. ‘If that’s what you do,’ Ike said, ‘there’s no way you’ll be able to do your job.’ We think it’s important to occasionally relax in high-stress jobs. Besides, golf teaches honesty, integrity, perseverance and other values essential for good government.”
Perhaps jolting from the Romney attack - though Press Secretary Jay Carney said in Thursday’s briefing that no one should take the comments personally - President Obama in Ohio on Wednesday said, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn’t. But somebody gave us a chance.”
When questioned about the president’s silver spoon comment on Fox this morning, Romney said, “Well, you know the president is really taking aim at anybody he can find these days. In fact in my case I am certainly not going to apologize for my dad and his success in life.”
No word on if he’s going to apologize for his dad’s golf.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: GOP leaders gather in Arizona, ready to embrace Romney
Not too long ago, it seemed this week's meeting of the Republican National Committee in Arizona might be consumed with squabbles about delegate math and anxious hand-wringing over the long and acrimonious presidential primary fight. Instead, it's looking more and more like a Mitt Romney pep rally in the making.
Leading Drudge: Obama Jobs Plan: Work and Get Unemployment
The Obama administration is looking for states that will experiment with unemployment insurance programs by letting people test a job while still receiving benefits.
Leading HuffPo: Obama Defies Reid On Key Appointment
A GOP nominee to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission "lied to Congress" and "disqualified herself" from a second term, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday. Reid's blunt opposition to the Republican pick is part of a longer battle over the direction of the agency that regulates nuclear power - an aggressive step that has infuriated his counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Leading Politico: Obama scandal forecast: Slightly hazy
Barack Obama hates the tabloids and usually does a pretty good job of keeping out of them. Too bad he can’t say the same for the people who work for him.
Leading New York Times: In Wariness on Economy, Poll Finds Opening for Romney
A rising number of Americans see improvement in the economy, but a persistent wariness about their own financial circumstances is allowing Mitt Romney to persuade voters that he could improve their economic prospects more than President Obama, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
The political bites of the day
- Move over Steve Martin, look who’s wild ‘n’ “pretty crazy” -
ANN ROMNEY IN AN INTERVIEW WITH KCBQ RADIO IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: “It is too bad that people don't know that there is a side of Mitt that is like that. But I saw it when I was first dating him. He was a pretty crazy guy even though he never drank in high school. You know, that is when I fell in love with him and fell in love with his sense of humor.”
- Cummings’ constituents: Is our president safe? -
DEMOCRATIC REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CNN’S DANA BASH: “When I travel in my district, which is very diverse, a question that I hear almost every week - at least once a week - are they keeping the president safe? … People actually worry about that. They worry about it. People say to me ‘look, Cummings if they tried to kill Reagan, I know they'll try to do some harm to this president.’ I hear that all the time.”
- After scandals, Sessions questions Obama’s leadership -
REPUBLICAN SEN. JEFF SESSIONS TALKED ABOUT THE RECENT GOVERNMENT SCANDALS WITH REPORTERS: “GSA, Secret Service, Solyndra, problem after problem. I believe that the president of the United States is the chief executive officer for the entire governmental bureaucracy. I notice sometimes presidents act like the person they appoint as head of GSA, the person they appoint as head of Secret Service doesn't work for them, like they're some independent agency. The president needs to assert discipline.”
- Carney responds to Sessions charge -
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “That sounds very much like a lawmaker attempting to politicize something that is not at all political.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
Though Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is an accomplished pianist, and regularly played while working in the Bush administration, she also has a less refined hobby.
Rice says, more than any other job, her dream job is commissioner of the NFL.
“I think there's no more interesting and better-run institution than the NFL,” Rice told ESPN. “I just think when you think that on any Sunday during the season you can go to San Francisco or Miami or Green Bay or Baltimore and you can have essentially the same experience with a little local flavor. … It's just, I think, a really important national institution. Now, that said, I've decided that it would be all right to run a team, as well. That would a good job.”
And for Rice, this is far from just a passing love for the sport. According to a number of articles, when Rice was born, her father John Rice, a high school coach and athletic director, had a football waiting for her in the crib. Rice, a Bengals fan, hasn’t missed a Super Bowl since 1967.
Rice may have to wait a bit longer to contend for the NFL commissioner’s job, however, especially if Republican voters get their way. According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, Rice tops the list of possible Republican VP candidates. Twenty-six percent of those questioned said they would like to see Rice, who served as national security adviser and later as secretary of state under President George W. Bush, as the Republican vice presidential nominee.
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